CHICAGO – The Chicago Red Stars have announced that the team has acquired veteran Canadian international goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc from Portland Thorns FC. In exchange, the Red Stars have given up their 2nd round pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft.
Karina LeBlanc, a 33-year-old from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada, ranked second in the NWSL last season amongst goalkeepers with 92 saves, and is also a seasoned veteran of the Canadian National Team. In 2012, LeBlanc earned her 100th career cap with Canada and won a bronze medal at the London Olympic games.
“Karina is an important piece for us because she is a proven winner,” remarked Head Coach Rory Dames. “Her experience in winning a championship will be very important for our young team this year.”
Last season, LeBlanc finished with seven shutouts in 21 appearances, including Portland’s 2-0 win against Western New York in the 2013 NWSL Championship. LeBlanc topped all NWSL goalkeepers with 11 wins, and was a two-time NWSL Player of the Week.
LeBlanc competed in all three years of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and was named to the WPS All-Star Team’s Starting XI in 2009. She played collegiately at Nebraska from 1997-2000 and was a Hermann Trophy finalist in her senior season.
LeBlanc will join three other allocated Canadians on the Red Stars squad, including recently acquired forward Melissa Tancredi and returnees Adriana Leon and Rachel Quon.
On January 10, 2014, the National Women’s Soccer League lifted trade restrictions regarding allocated players. Previously the rule was such that an allocated player must be traded for an allocated player.
“We’re thrilled to bring in someone with Karina’s veteran playing experience as well as the rapport she has carried with fans throughout her career,” stated Red Stars General Manager Alyse LaHue. “She’s an extraordinary addition for us on and off the field.”
Date of Birth: March 30, 1980
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
Hometown: Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada
Previous club: Portland Thorns FC